Polytechnic students not overlooked

 Otago Polytechnic Students' Association (OPSA) president Rebecca Swindells (22) says O-Week is not just for university students and serves as a welcome for polytechnic students as well. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Otago Polytechnic Students' Association (OPSA) president Rebecca Swindells (22) says O-Week is not just for university students and serves as a welcome for polytechnic students as well. Photo by Linda Robertson.
OPSA president Rebecca Swindells talks to reporter Vaughan Elder about what O-Week means for polytechnic students.

Q: Do polytechnic students feel left out, with much of the focus of O-Week being on university students?

A: Polytechnic students are welcome to any event held by OUSA, as are members of the public welcome to most events, so no, I doubt polytechnic students feel left out. We have events and days that we try to coincide with OUSA so our students feel just as part of O-Week as the university students - which is what O-week is about, welcoming all students.

Q: Why do you think having O-Week is important?

A: Orientation is a great chance for students to learn more about the city, the campuses and the services that OPSA and OUSA provide. That includes services we provide separately on our own campuses and services we provide together with OUSA, for example Clubs and Societies. Orientation is a great time for students to recognise the city as their home for the duration of their study and a place to stay after they have completed their study. It is also a great time for me to get out and meet the students and find out what they want from their students' association during the year.

Q: Does OPSA co-operate with OUSA in organising O-Week?

A: OPSA doesn't have any involvement with OUSA regarding the organising of the events. However, OPSA promotes OUSA orientation events, both on campus and online. We also guide students and public to the places to buy orientation tickets. We have previously sold tickets from our office. However, this stopped a few years ago as online ticket purchases seemed to be more effective.

Q: How does OPSA help welcome polytechnic students to Dunedin?

A: OPSA has a two-week orientation line-up to welcome our polytechnic students to town and to the campus and we also have ways we welcome distance students who are studying with us. Our events are mostly lunchtime events so our students can also attend OUSA events and include a welcome barbecue, a welcome breakfast, our twice-yearly quiz night and a staff v student football game. We are also selling subsidised tickets to the Warriors game, the Highlanders game and the Phoenix game. For distance students, we are having a daily Facebook quiz as well as a scavenger hunt.